“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops.”
As Christians, it’s a common practice to give back some of what you have to God, whether that’s by donating it to your church or to a charity. The traditional number is 10% of your income. In fact, the word “tithe” is actually an Old English word for “tenth.” But sometimes we miss the heart of the whole matter.
This proverb tells us to honor the Lord with our wealth. Well, what if you’re not wealthy? Your wealth isn’t confined to the number in your bank account. Remember the story of the poor widow and her last coins that she put into the temple treasury (Mark 12:41-44)? Jesus said that she, with her few measly coins, had given more than all of the rich people who were giving much more expensive donations. Why? Because she gave of the only thing she had to give.
Now, it’s worth mentioning that in the Old Testament, God commands that the tithes be set aside to take care of widows and orphans, so she really shouldn’t even have had to put in her few mites. Jesus points out her gift not only to show how she was willing to give even out of her poverty, but also to point out that the religious elite weren’t doing their job of taking care of the oppressed that God had called them to.
So you don’t need to feel like you have to give your last dollar to the church instead of feeding yourself. But for most of us reading this, that isn’t the case. We have resources to spare, even if we’re not rich. The truth is, we just prefer to honor ourselves with our wealth rather than the Lord.
Don’t become a slave to your wealth. Don’t hoard up your money, your resources, your talent, or anything else God has blessed you with. Don’t use what you have to honor yourself, but to honor God by honoring others. Specifically the widows, the orphans, the poor, and the oppressed.
Give whatever you have to give, the first fruits of every blessing with which you have been blessed. This is the gift that is pleasing to God. Out of everything that you have, you should be willing to give first to God and second to yourself. Otherwise, you’ve forgotten who it is that blessed you in the first place.
Help us not to be controlled by selfish desire or greed, but instead to use our resources to honor you. Help us not to forget the widows, the orphans, the sick, the poor, and the oppressed, but instead embolden us to move into the lives of those who need it and bless them with the wealth that you have entrusted to us.
In Jesus’ Name,